Paul C. Beiersdorf
(1836 – 1896)
Paul C. Beiersdorf was born in Neuruppin in the Brandenburg Marches, and set up shop as a pharmacist in Hamburg in 1880. Working closely with dermatologist Paul Gerson Unna, he established the plasters business, obtaining his first patent in 1882 for "guttapercha plaster gauze". The date of the patent specification is also the date on which the Company that bears his name to this day was founded.
Dr. Oscar Troplowitz
(1863 - 1918)
Troplowitz was one of the major entrepreneurial personalities of his time. After training as a pharmacist with his uncle, the subsequent Court Counselor Gustav Mankiewicz, he graduated with a degree in pharmacy in 1886 from the University of Breslau. In 1890, he acquired Paul C. Beiersdorf’s laboratory in Altona and transformed it into a company.
He immediately mechanized production and in 1892 set up his own factory on what was then a 1,200m² plot of land in Lokstedter Weg (known today as Unnastrasse). The Company's headquarters can still be found there to this day. A customer- and market-oriented entrepreneur who thought and acted internationally from the start, he took care to ensure the further development of his products on a sound scientific footing. He continued the cooperation with Prof. Paul Gerson Unna that had been started by Paul C. Beiersdorf and employed at his recommendation the chemist Dr. Isaac Lifschütz, who invented the emulsifier Eucerit – the basic ingredient of NIVEA Creme – among other things.
Troplowitz also set a milestone in the Company's history with the many company benefits he provided his employees. For example, he was the one of the first employers in Hamburg to reduce the working week to 48 hours without cutting pay and gave blue-collar and white-collar workers Christmas bonuses and vacation pay. In addition, he set up a welfare fund for employees in financial hardship and the Troma (the Beiersdorf pension and widows’ and orphans’ fund), which was named after him and his brother-in-law, and co-shareholder Dr. Otto Hanns Mankiewicz and which still exists in a modified form today.
Also worthy of mention are his many public activities and his support of charitable foundations, or his famous art collection in the villa on the Agnesstrasse; following the death of his wife in 1920, this was bequeathed to the Hamburger Kunsthalle art gallery.
His most significant achievement, however, was to create the brands such as Leukoplast, Labello, and NIVEA which are so famous today. Troplowitz was convinced that branded goods offering reliable quality and real, substantial benefits to the consumer would be a successful concept for the future. This work laid the foundations for the company’s strategy today.
Dr. Willy Jacobsohn
(1884 – 1963)
Born in Stolp (Pomerania), Willy Jacobsohn first trained as a pharmacist and subsequently studied natural sciences and chemistry at the universities of Munich and Berlin. After obtaining a doctorate in 1909, he worked in a small pharmaceutical factory before moving to Beiersdorf in 1914.
At the end of the war, he took over the management of the laboratory and the international department as one of the four managing directors. In 1922 – after Beiersdorf had become an Aktiengesellschaft (a German public company) – he was appointed Chairman of the Executive Board. Under his management, the factories in Hamburg were expanded and, in particular, the company’s international business established in the years following the First World War.
In 1933 he resigned – along with the other Jewish members of the Executive Board – and took over responsibility for the company’s international business from Holland, emigrating to Los Angeles in the USA via London in 1938.
(1878 – 1954)
Carl Claussen (born in Bremerhaven and died in Hamburg) was a member of the Company's Supervisory Board from 1920, the date Beiersdorf GmbH was founded. Initially employed in his father's forwarding agency until 1927/28, he took over as Chairman of the Executive Board in 1933 after Dr. Willy Jacobsohn resigned for political reasons. He managed the company throughout the National Socialist era until 1954. He had married Martha Pulvermacher, a niece of Oscar Troplowitz, in 1908. He started rebuilding the Company following the end of the war, a task that his son Georg Wilhelm Claussen continued as a representative of the third generation.
Georg W. Claussen
(1912 - 2013)
Georg W. Claussen, son of Carl Claussen and his wife Martha (née Pulvermacher), was born in 1912, the nephew of founder Dr. Oscar Troplowitz in Hamburg. After several international trips and a business degree he joined the company in 1938 – despite the doubts of his father. As of 1952 he was acting member of the board of Beiersdorf AG.
Two years later he became a full member and on June 28th, 1954, he was appointed Speaker of the Board. From 1957 to 1979 he was CEO of Beiersdorf AG, after his retirement in 1979 until 1987 he was Chairman of the Supervisory Board. From 1989 he was an Honorary Chairman.
Beyond Beiersdorf Claussen was engaged with numerous other institutions. In 1982, on the occasion of the 100 -year anniversary of the founding of Beiersdorf AG, he founded the Claussen-Simon Foundation, which above all supports scientifically and technically gifted young people. His social engagement was recognized with the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Richard Merton Badge of Honor of the Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany and the Verfassungsportugaleser in Gold from the Hanseatic City of Hamburg, among other awards.
Dr. Hellmut Kruse
Born in 1926 in Hamburg, Hellmut Kruse studied literary history and philosophy at the universities of Hamburg and Fribourg in Switzerland. Awarded his doctoral degree by the University of Fribourg/Switzerland in 1948, he began his career as an exporter and personally liable partner of Wichers & Helm, Hamburg, the company belonging to his father, Hans E. B. Kruse (†1968), who served as Chairman of Beiersdorf AG’s Supervisory Board from 1933 to 1968. He joined Beiersdorf AG in 1961. Initially an alternate member of the Executive Board, he became a full member in 1963. He was Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board from 1975 and Chairman of the Executive Board from 1979 to 1989. Later, he became a member of the Supervisory Board of Beiersdorf AG from 1989 to 1994.
Born in Offenau in 1930, he first trained as a commercial clerk at a brokerage house in Hamburg. After holding management positions in the Unilever Group and at Edeka headquarters, he joined Beiersdorf in 1971. He initially held the post of Marketing and Sales Manager for personal care products and plasters/dressings in Germany, before taking over management of the cosmed division in 1973 after the introduction of the divisional structure. An alternate member of the Executive Board since 1974, he was appointed a full member a year later. In 1988, he was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board, and from 1989 to 1994, he was Chairman of the Executive Board. He was a member of the Supervisory Board of Beiersdorf AG from 1994 until 2004.
Dr. Rolf Kunisch
Rolf Kunisch was born in Arolsen in 1941. He studied economics and engineering at Darmstadt Technical University from 1960 until 1966, and then spent two years as a research assistant at Cologne University. After that he left academia for the world of business, becoming a product manager at Procter & Gamble for products including Lenor and Dash. Following a spell in the USA from 1973 to1975, he became Marketing Manager and in 1979, General Manager. He came to Beiersdorf in June 1991, and was appointed to the Executive Board with responsibility for the former cosmed division. He was Chairman of the Executive Board from 1994 to 2005. Since then, he has been a member of the Supervisory Board of Beiersdorf AG.